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Massachusetts law about gambling and casinos

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on gambling and casinos law.

Table of Contents


COVID-19 updates and alerts, Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Minimum requirements for the initial Phase 3 opening of gaming establishments, Massachusetts Gaming Commission 
Sets the minimum reopening requirements for Massachusetts casinos. Adopted by the Commission on June 23, 2020.

Massachusetts laws

18 yrs old attend charitable bingo or bazaar

St.2016, c.219, §§ 135 and 137, as amended by St.2018, § 154 Legalizing daily fantasy sports (DFS).

MGL c.10, §§ 37-40 Beano, raffles, compulsive gambling

21 yrs old casino gaming area or DFS

MGL c.23K Massachusetts Gaming Commission
Permits up to 3 casinos and 1 slots-only casino in the state. Has several provisions particular to Indian tribes.

MGL c.137 Gaming

MGL c.271 Gambling crimes

Massachusetts regulations

205 CMR Mass. Gaming Commission

940 CMR 12 Regulations governing raffles

940 CMR 13 Regulations governing bazaars

940 CMR 30 Illegal lotteries, sweepstakes and de facto gambling establishments

940 CMR 34 Daily fantasy sports contest operators in Massachusetts  

961 CMR Mass. Lottery Commission

Federal laws

15 USC §§ 1171-1173 Johnson Act. Regulates transportation of gambling devices

25 USC §§ 2701 et seq. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Sets the terms for how tribes can operate casinos and bingo parlors. Enables off-reservation land for casinos. Defines the 3 classes of gaming.

31 USC §§ 5361-5367 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 Prohibits companies from accepting money for internet gambling if the gambling is illegal under existing federal or state laws. Does not address gambling directly, but rather the transfer of funds from credit cards and bank accounts to online casinos.

Federal regulations

25 CFR 290 Tribal revenue allocation plans

25 CFR 291 Class III gaming procedures. Used when a state and an Indian tribe are unable to voluntarily agree to a compact and "the State has asserted its immunity from suit brought by an Indian tribe under 25 U.S.C. 2710(d)(7)(B)."

25 CFR 292 Gaming on trust lands acquired after October 17, 1988. "Articulates standards that the BIA will follow in interpreting the various exceptions to the gaming prohibitions contained in section 2719 of IGRA."

25 CFR Chapter III National Indian Gaming Commission regulations

Selected case law

Buzulis v. Mohegan Sun Casino, 69 Mass.App.Ct. 708 (2007)
Gaming disputes. Court of the Mohegan Tribe had exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over the action.

Connecticut National Bank of Hartford v. Richard Kommit, 31 Mass.App.Ct. 348 (1991).
An often-cited case that discusses the collection of a credit card debt for a cash advance by a Massachusetts resident to be used for gambling in Atlantic City, under a credit card contract generally governed by Connecticut law.

In re: Daily Fantasy Sports Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, In re: DraftKings, Inc., Fantasy Sports Litigation, In re: FanDuel, Inc., Fantasy Sports Litigation, 158 F.Supp.3d 1375 (2016)
80 actions or potential tag-along actions, pending in multiple districts, involving allegations of improper or illegal conduct by the operators of 2 online daily fantasy sports contests. Centralization was warranted, and District of Massachusetts was appropriate transferee district.

Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, 572 U.S. 782, (2014)
Tribal sovereign immunity.

Murphy v. NCAA, __ U.S. __, 138 S. Ct. 1461 (May 14, 2018)
The Federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which bars states from permitting gambling on sports, is an unconstitutional infringement on states' rights. 


Bureau of Indian Affairs
Responsible for recognizing tribes and tribal land, revenue allocation, and more

Department of Justice Office of Tribal Justice 
OTJ is the primary point of contact for the Department of Justice's government to government relationship with Indian tribes.

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Gaming Enforcement Division
Enforces the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011 and investigates and prosecutes illegal activity such as gaming-related financial crime, organized crime, corruption, and money laundering.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is responsible for implementing the expanded gaming law passed in November 2011.

National Indian Gaming Commission 
Has primary responsibility to oversee Indian gaming

Office of Problem Gambling Services, Mass. Dept. of Public Health
Resources for those facing gambling addiction.

Web sources

Appeals Court denies Mashpee Wampanoag request for casino land, WBUR, February 20, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit “upheld a lower court decision declaring the federal government had not been authorized to take land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in 2015.” The case centered largely on whether the Wampanoag tribe is considered “Indian” under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

Attorney General's FAQs about nonprofit gaming events
An informative FAQ for charities and nonprofits interested in conducting a gaming event

Guidance on raffles, Mass. Attorney General 
Information on the rules and guidelines to follow if your organization is considering holding a raffle in Massachusetts.

Guide to taxes: gambling and lottery winnings, Mass. Department of Revenue
Explains how to report gambling and lottery winnings

Massachusetts sports betting: Is legal sports betting available in Massachusetts?, USA Today Sports Book Wire, April 8, 2020.
Summary of current Mass. law on sports betting.

NIGC Bulletin 05-1 Use of net gaming revenues bulletin, National Indian Gaming Commission
Bulletin was written "to encourage tribes to employ policies and procedures in their expenditure of tribal gaming revenues that comply with IGRA and will minimize complaints and misunderstanding among the tribal membership and interested outside parties."

The tip of the iceberg: daily fantasy sports a harbinger of future regulatory challenges, 60 Boston Bar Journal 29, Spring 2016

Unlawful internet gambling enforcement act of 2006: overview, FDIC
Provides detailed summary of the law and sets procedures for reviewing compliance by financial institutions.

White paper on daily fantasy sports by Mass. Gaming Commission.  January 11, 2016.

Print sources

Cohen's handbook of Federal Indian law, by Felix S. Cohen. LexisNexis, with supplement.

Criminal law, Mass. practice v. 32 with supplement; Chapter 23, Gaming.

Deal or no deal (Audio CD) Transacting in Native America, American Bar Association, 2008.

Gaming law in a nutshell, by Walter T. Champion, Jr. and I. Nelson Rose. West, 2018.

Massachusetts proof of cases, West, with supplement. Chapter 51, Gaming offenses

Summary of basic law, Mass. practice v.14A, West, annual. Chapter 7, Gaming offenses, §§ 7.274-7.278.

The Supreme Court and tribal gaming: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, by Ralph A. Rossum. University Press of Kansas, c2011.



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: March 16, 2021